Text graphic - Careers with the PA Fish and Boat Commission Picture of PFBC employees stocking a lake
Pennsylvania has more than 85,000 miles of streams and lakes along with 4,000 inland lakes and ponds covering 160,000 acres. In Pennsylvania, the merging of Midwestern and Mid-Atlantic watersheds has led to some of the most diverse fisheries in the nation. Pennsylvania also offers residents and visitors some of the best boating in the Mid-Atlantic area.

Pennsylvania is unique in having an entire agency dedicated to fisheries. The Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission (PFBC) regulates and protects the aquatic resources of the state, which include fishes, amphibians and reptiles, and their habitats.

The mission of the PFBC is to “provide fishing and boating opportunities through the protection and management of aquatic resources.” Many people enjoy fishing and boating Pennsylvania’s waters, and they want to help preserve our state’s aquatic resources. If this describes you, you may wish to consider a career with the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission.
Picture of PFBC employees on a motorboat

Civil Service positions
The majority of PFBC positions are covered under Civil Service. For these positions, an applicant must complete a Civil Service application and successfully compete in an examination program to be placed on an employment list for the job classification for which the applicant applied. When a job vacancy occurs, interviews are conducted with the highest-ranking scorers on the Civil Service referral list. Applications and a summary of current examinations are available on the Civil Service Commission’s web site, www.scsc.state.pa.us, or by contacting one of the three state Civil Service Commission’s regional offices at: Harrisburg, 717-783-3058; Pittsburgh, 412-565-7666; or Philadelphia, 215-560-2253.

Civil Service positions with the PFBC include:
Waterways Conservation Officers
Our officers are hired as Waterways Conservation Officer trainees who are required to complete an extensive one-year program that includes about 20 weeks of training in law enforcement principles and practices by a contracted, certified training institution; 20 weeks of classroom training conducted by PFBC staff at the HR Stackhouse School of Fisheries and Watercraft Safety; 7 weeks of field training assignments in various regions of the state under the direction of experienced officers; and 5 weeks of on-the-job evaluated training while assigned to a specific region.

Classroom training covers fish and boat laws and regulations, watercraft safety, land and water management, fish propagation, fisheries biology and conservation, weapons use, physical training and public relations. After successfully completing the training program, cadets are promoted to Waterways Conservation Officers (WCOs). Currently, the PFBC employs about 80 male and female officers.

WCOs perform specialized work in fisheries conservation and watercraft safety under the jurisdiction of the Fish & Boat Commission. Typical duties include patrolling by foot, car and boat to detect violators; pursuing and apprehending violators; issuing citations or field acknowledgement receipts; serving warrants; presenting evidence at hearings and court proceedings; investigating water pollution incidents; and stocking fish. Officers also make public appearances to conduct classes and provide information regarding PFBC services, laws and regulations. Extensive daily travel is required. Each applicant must be a Pennsylvania resident, possess a valid PA driver’s license, be of good moral character and be at least 21 years of age.

Fisheries positions
Pennsylvania has more than 4,000 miles of coldwater streams and more than 8,000 miles of warmwater streams and rivers. Many streams, rivers and lakes are stocked with fish raised by the PFBC. The Commission operates 14 major fish culture stations (hatcheries) statewide that produce more than 100 million fish annually. The Bureau of Fisheries employs both permanent and seasonal staff.

Fish Culturist
Fish Culturists 1 are usually hired as seasonal workers (March to November), which could lead to a permanent position as openings occur. Employees participate in structured on-the-job training to develop a working knowledge and proficiency in the technical methods and procedures used in fish culture including: netting, sorting, grading, and weighing techniques; feeding, sampling, testing, inspection and treatment methodologies; extraction, fertilization, hatching, incubation and rearing practices and procedures. Fish culturists also perform semi-skilled construction and maintenance work on buildings, equipment and facilities.

Employees must obtain a Commercial Driver’s License that permits the operation of vehicles of 26,000 pounds or more during the training period. After successful completion of the one-year training period, a Fish Culturist 1 is promoted to a Fish Culturist 2. Each applicant must be a Pennsylvania resident and possess a valid PA driver’s license.

Fisheries Technician
Fisheries Technicians perform technical work in the field of fisheries biology. As team members, they collect samples of various species of fish and other aquatic life, test water quality, determine physical characteristics of waterways including the stream bottom composition, administer questionnaires to aquatic resource users, prepare field notes, organize and analyze data and prepare technical reports. Applicants must have two years of experience performing limited technical and semi-skilled manual work in the field of fisheries biology; or two years of experience as a Fish Culturist 1; or two years of college that included nine credits in biology or a related science; or an equivalent combination of experience and training; and possess a valid PA driver’s license.

Fisheries Biologist
The PFBC employs levels of biologists ranging from Fisheries Biologist 1 to Fisheries Biologist 5. Most PFBC biologists are hired as Fisheries Biologists 1. This is beginning-level professional work in fisheries research or fisheries management. Assignments are selected to provide experience in the practical application of theories, procedures and methods used in fisheries biology. Fisheries Biologists 1 assist higher-level biologists in conducting studies, investigations and research projects by gathering and analyzing data, formulating recommendations and writing reports of findings. They also make microscopic and laboratory analyses of biological samples to identify, classify and isolate species. Fisheries biologists conduct investigations of fish kills and/or pollution problems and testify at legal proceedings. Fisheries biologists also speak before various groups and workshops such as sportsmen and conservation organizations, schools, civic clubs and professional organizations on subjects related to fisheries biology.

Applicants must possess a bachelor’s degree with a major in a biological science including or supplemented by a minimum of nine credits in the field of aquatic biology, aquatic ecology, fisheries biology or an equivalent field. Possession of a valid PA driver’s license is also required.

Non-Civil Service positions
The PFBC also includes non-Civil Service positions statewide. You can apply for non-civil service employment at www.employment.pa.gov. If you do not have access to the Internet, visit your local library or call 1.866.858.2753 to find a PA CareerLink near you.

Non-Civil Service positions with the PFBC include:
Laborers are hired seasonally, generally March through October. Most of these positions are located in one of several maintenance districts, consisting of multiple counties statewide. The duties include both light and heavy manual laboring tasks, often of a repetitive nature. No previous experience or training is required.

Semi-Skilled Laborers
Semi-Skilled Laborers are also hired seasonally, mostly March through October. However, these positions are assigned to the construction crews, which require extensive travel statewide. Duties include semi-skilled manual work in the construction and maintenance of projects for the PFBC. One year of experience in laboring work including the use of tools and equipment used in maintenance or construction is required.

Equipment Operators
Our Equipment Operators perform skilled work in the operation of specialized equipment and/or vehicles with a gross vehicle weight of 32,001 pounds or more. Equipment Operators also perform manual work on assigned projects including loading and unloading trucks, minor repairs and preventive maintenance, and assisting automotive mechanics in making major repairs to equipment. A valid PA driver’s license is required.

Clerical positions
The PFBC employs a small clerical staff consisting of clerks and clerk typists. Most of the clerical personnel are located in the Harrisburg headquarters building with the remainder located at our Pleasant Gap facility. Each fish culture station and regional law enforcement office also employs a clerical staff person.

Clerks are hired either in a seasonal or permanent capacity. Duties vary depending on the agency bureau to which one is assigned, and may include document processing, data entry, arithmetic calculations, coding, and assisting the public in completion of forms.

Clerk Typists
Clerk Typists are responsible for typing correspondence, reports and other documents. They also perform additional clerical functions such as answering the telephone for a multi-person office, filing, ordering supplies and similar duties.

Paid internships
The Divisions of Fisheries Management and Research use Fisheries Biologist Aide positions to accomplish various field activities such as sampling fish populations, water chemistry analysis, taking biological data from fish, equipment maintenance and data entry. These positions are seasonal and are compensated with an hourly salary.

To be considered for these positions, you must be a graduate or enrolled in a curriculum in fisheries or a closely related field. Applicants must also possess a valid PA driver’s license. To apply for these positions, you must submit a Non-Civil Service Personal Data Sheet and resume directly to the PFBC Human Resources Office.

Unpaid internships
The Division of Fisheries Management also offers unpaid internships for undergraduate students seeking “hands-on” experience. Students in this program must take the internship for college credit, have the approval of their advisor, and have the means to provide transportation to and from the work site.

Questions regarding employment opportunities with the PA Fish & Boat Commission should be directed to the Human Resource Office at 717-705-7820, via e-mail: ra-pfbchr@pa.gov, or in writing: PA Fish & Boat Commission, Human Resources Office, P.O. Box 67000, Harrisburg, PA 17106-7000.

Picture of a PFBC employee working with the public
Picture of a PFBC Conservation Officer interacting with the public
Picture of PFBC biologists at a stream or lake survey
Picture of a PFBC fish culturist holding a hatchery trout
Picture of PFBC biologists conducting a stream survey
Picture of a PFBC employee in a stream
Picture of PFBC biologists conducting a lake survey
Picture of a PFBC employee working in the office
Picture of a PFBC carpenter doing machine work
Picture of a PFBC employee interacting with the public

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